Bulgaria's Ruling Party Names Mayor Candidates
Bulgaria's main ruling party GERB has announced the names it has endorsed to run for mayors of the country in the October 25 local elections.
The list unveiled at a party conference held at Arena Armeec Hall in Sofia comprises 29 names for the 31 Bulgarian constituencies (the mayor of the capital Sofia is a candidate in all 3 constituencies which form Sofia-Oblast, or Sofia-Region, and the city itself).
GERB, whose candidates won the 2011 elections in all five biggest cities in the country, has not put forward a new candidate for any of them, backing the incumbents.
Yordanka Fandakova, who in 2011 was reelected on GERB's ticket, will run for a third term in office. Fandakova took over from Borisov when his GERB party won the 2009 general elections and he left the mayor's position to become Prime Minister.
In the second-largest city Plovdiv, Ivan Totev, who is widely credited with having helped the city turn into a new industrial and outsourcing hub, has GERB's support to stand for reelection.
Ivan Portnih, currently Mayor of the northern Black Sea city of Varna, will also run for a second term.
In Burgas, the fourth-largest city located south of Varna which has enjoyed a relative economic boom over the past years, GERB has again thrown its support behind incumbent Dimitar Nikolov.
PM Boyko Borisov's party has also backed Plamen Stoilov, who holds the same office in Ruse, for a second tenure.
"GERB could have filled the seats in Arena Armeec Hall even [if it had only invited] Sofia citizens," Focus News Agency quotes Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Deputy Chair of GERB, as saying while announcing the names. Arena Armeec is the biggest indoor venue for sports even and performances in Bulgaria - built under PM Boyko Borisov's first tenure.
Tsvetanov, a former Interior Minister (2009-2013), is widely seen as the driving force behind the local party structures of GERB and presides over the party's national electoral organization.
Borisov, for his part, called on supporters to stand behind GERB regardless of the tough times the country and (he hinted) authorities are going through.
"If there are 1200 refugees fleeing death, will they change anything in this hall?... In my previous tenure, the worst financial and economic crisis happened to hit... Now, what is happening to us is a migration period," the PM went on, then adding a few more comments about migration to Europe:
"Hundreds of thousands of people - women, men, children - are fleeing the yatagan [an Ottoman sabre used a lot in the Balkans against infidels in the lands which were under the Empire's rule]."
"Thousands of people fled [then] as well. Nobody likes to see their comfort is over, but as for us [Bulgarians] they [other countries] accepted us."
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